By Ira Manning, Co-Founder of Steady Calendar
Have you ever realized that nowadays people have become too busy, too stressed out, too dependent on technology? The pace is too fast. Too fast to notice the world around us… We are constantly on the run, doing things, thinking things, multitasking, using our laptops, watching TV shows. We stopped living in the moment, enjoying life. When was the last time you sat in the park just looking around and doing nothing? When was the last time you spent quality time with your family without the TV on or without checking your phone? When was the last time you chose reading a book over checking Facebook or Instagram? When was the last time you looked around at the world around you instead of staring at you iPhone screen? If you can’t remember the last time – then this article is for you. I was once someone who started loosing herself in the complications of the modern world. I became too busy, too irritated, too stressed out. My health suffered, my relationship suffered, my happiness suffered. One day, I decided to change. I made a decision to become happy and at peace again, to be satisfied with and appreciative of what I have. I started with changing my mornings. These 5 simple things that I incorporated into my morning routine are so simple but made such a huge difference.
Every morning I wake up early.
This is a tough one. But the most amazing habit to acquire! First and foremost, it just feels absolutely magical to wake up with the sun, watch the sun rise and see the world wake up. Try it – you’ll know what I am talking about. Second, you will love the rare opportunity to have some alone time without anyone or anything distracting you from… you! And your thoughts. Most importantly, when you start waking up a couple of hours earlier, you won’t believe how much more productive you’ll become! Right after I wake up, I usually go for a run in the park, stretch, shower, sit for some time on my terrace with a cup of coffee, meditate, answer my emails, read educational articles. The amazing part is that by the time I am done I am shocked to realize that it’s not even 8 o’clock in the morning yet (the time I used to set my alarm for!!).
It is very hard to get our bodies used to waking up so early. I know it was for me. But I also know that it is a matter of habit. It is very much possible with just a little bit of persistence and discipline. Note: it is very important to remember, that waking up early shouldn’t be equal to depriving yourself of sleep. If you do you make a commitment to start rising early, make sure you go to bed at a reasonable time the night before.
Every morning I go for a short run.
Another great one. Going for a short (or long – it is a matter of preference) run in the morning is a very healthy habit with lots and lots of benefits. One – your body just feels great after getting exercise. Two – you get energized and ready for a long workday ahead of you. Three – you will come back from your run in a much better mood (back to my point about how early mornings are awesome!) I personally just love having my favorite park all to myself when I run in the morning. I love listening to the birds sing, feeling a light breeze on my skin, and enjoying the views of the rising sun.
I know sometimes it is hard to force yourself to exercise. The thought of having to exercise feels overwhelming and we procrastinate. The solution here is setting smaller less overwhelming goals. Don’t commit to exercising an hour a day – instead commit to a short ten-minute run first thing in the morning. Doesn’t sound too hard, huh? Just ten minutes of physical activity is better that no physical activity at all! Even if you are too busy to exercise – ten minutes out of your day is nothing. And if you go for a run first thing in the morning, you’ll get it over with in no time and will be able to get on with your day. (But seriously, don’t think of it as a chore – try to enjoy it!)
Every morning I have quiet time while having a cup of coffee.
I just love sitting down on my terrace with a cup of coffee in the morning and listening to the sound of silence (remember: it is usually not even 7.00am yet when I have my morning coffee and everything is incredibly peaceful and quiet). My husband is usually not awake at that time and yet again I get to spend alone time with myself. Although, if he does happen to be awake I enjoy it all the more – just sitting quietly together with this very important and dear to me man.
Try it for yourself. Make a cup of coffee after your morning run, sit down and relax. And spend those few precious minutes alone or with your significant other (or your parent, or your sibling, or your roommate) just thinking, and breathing and being. Note: make sure to be mindful, feel the experience through, enjoy the smell of that freshly brewed coffee, the peace and quiet of being alone or the joy or spending time with someone important to you. And no technology, no phone, no reading the news! Relax into the luxury of doing just one thing – having that nice cup of coffee.
Every morning I meditate.
This one may seem hard for beginners but it is not. Everyone can do it: no matter how experienced or inexperienced at meditating you are (I am not experienced at it at all!). Meditation has endless benefits for your mind and body. Meditating regularly is sure to make you feel good, grateful, happy, calm and fulfilled. Again, do not feel overwhelm yourself with committing to long meditation practices – start small. Do it only for five minutes in the beginning (for whatever amount of time that is comfortable) but make sure to do it every day. Meditation may seem hard at the beginning but you do get better at it with practice. If you are a complete beginner and never meditated before, I recommend using a guided meditation. Try this 30 Day Meditation Challenge – it is super easy and absolutely fantastic! It definitely worked for me. Ever since I started practicing meditation every day, I started feeling calmer, happier and in harmony with everything and everyone.
Every morning I write down 3 things I am grateful for.
The last but not least is this super simple but oh-so-effective technique – writing down three things that I you are grateful for in life. It takes a few seconds but makes you realize how lucky you are to be healthy, have a loving family, having great friends, having a job you love, having somewhere to live, something to eat. You can even be thankful for simple things like a sunny day or feeling warm or being in a good mood or being able to hear, see, walk – simple things that so many of us take for granted. Simple things that so many people in this world just don’t have… Writing things you are thankful for puts everything into perspective. Reminding yourself of having what you have is very important. It makes you realize that there is so much in your life to be happy about and that you should appreciate and be grateful for every little thing you have.
See how simple it is? Just 5 small things that you can do within one short morning hour – will change your day and your life. Try this morning routine for just a week and see for yourself. You will become happy and calm, you will perceive things differently, you will stop taking things for granted and will learn to be in the moment and enjoy life. You have the power to change you life. You are stronger than the system we are being sucked into. Break out of it. The solution is simple – start with changing you mornings:)
Steady Calendar is a beautiful simple productivity iOS app that will change your life for the better by changing your day-to-day habits. It is incredibly simple to use: create a list of goals, personalize your calendars, mark days when you make progress and track your productivity by analyzing your monthly statistics. Reaching goals has never been easier!